Repeat or revenge: Alabama vs. Georgia, again, for CFP title
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Alabama has a chance to repeat. Georgia has a chance for revenge.
The rematch is set, and it’ll decide the College Football Playoff national championship. After a pair of easy wins in the semifinals on Friday night, the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs — the only two teams to be ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 this season — will meet again to decide the title Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.
Alabama will be seeking a seventh national championship in the last 13 years under Saban. Georgia is playing with hopes of claiming its first national title since Herschel Walker led the Bulldogs to the title in the 1980 season.
This matchup comes after Alabama — big underdogs entering that game — had little trouble in what became a 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC championship game back on Dec. 4, costing the Bulldogs a chance at an undefeated season and giving the defending national champion Crimson Tide a trip back into the playoff mix.
Alabama needed that win.
Weirdly, Georgia felt it needed that loss.
“For our team, it was a wakeup call,” Georgia offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer said that night. “I think we needed one. We got a wakeup call from a really good team. If we get a chance in the playoffs, I think that wakeup call will help propel us forward.”
Oh, the Bulldogs were awake on Friday night.
They blew out Michigan 34-11 in the Orange Bowl, taking the field not long after Alabama had little trouble dismissing Cincinnati 27-6 in the other CFP semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.
“To have another opportunity to play for a national championship ... it’s like a dream come true,” Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. said after the Cotton Bowl.
Predictably, the Tide didn’t do much talking about Georgia following their win. Most teams would never go down that road, talking about an opponent in tournament play before the next matchup is actually set. But Georgia, playing the later game on Friday, probably could have let Alabama begin entering its thoughts probably somewhere around halftime when the Bulldogs had a 27-3 lead over the Wolverines.
Due respect to Michigan, by then, it was clear: The All-SEC rematch was happening. The first CFP title game saw Ohio State defeating Oregon. All seven editions since have featured at least one SEC team — Alabama six times, LSU once, and now Georgia twice.
Alabama has gone 3-2 in its previous CFP title game appearances, alternating wins and losses every time. Nobody in the CFP era has won back-to-back titles; Alabama is 0-2 in its opportunities to do so, and Clemson also lost when it had a bid for consecutive CFP crowns.
Georgia can only hope that trend continues.
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